November 12, 2012

Weekend in the Mountains with Mom

All of the recent changes in my life have left my calendar relatively wide open for the month of November.  I recognize that this sort of "time off" might not ever happen again.  With that said, I've been really trying to make the most of this time by investing in my own yoga practice, substituting whenever I can, cooking up a storm, and taking time off to visit friends and family.  In fact, just this past weekend my Mom and I met up in Blue Ridge, GA for a long weekend together.  (Note: My Mom's side of the family owns a house in the mountains, and it is the perfect place for a FREE fall getaway.)  The timing worked out perfectly for both of us (a rare thing indeed), and we couldn't wait to have a few days of relaxation and uninterrupted mother/daughter time together.

Lola decided to come along for the trip, so on Thursday morning we loaded up my new car and started the 7 1/2 hour drive up to Blue Ridge.  It took her a while, but eventually Lola found a way to get comfortable in the floorboard of the passenger side seat.  From this position, it doesn't seem like dogs can get a "crick in their neck"...

When we arrived around 3:00PM the sun was shining, and the day was simply resplendent.

Here's a peek down the driveway from the cabin.  
Just look at all those fall colors: red, orange, yellow, green, brown, grey, white, and more!  

Here's a view of the side of the house...I could have sworn I took a pick of the front, but I guess I didn't.
Oh well, you'll just have to imagine how gorgeous it is.

Since I decided to bring Lola along for the trip, my Mom decided to bring her dog, Annie Mae, as well.  Annie Mae, as sweet as she is, is VERY shy and skiddish; and while she is wonderful with most people (once she warms up to them), she doesn't have a lot of experience with - or exposure to - other dogs.

With that said, their introduction didn't go so well.  

As much as Lola tried, Annie Mae just was NOT interested in being friends.  In the end, we ended up having to keep them separated the entire weekend.  Our solutions were either to:
  • have Annie Mae in the crate while Lola roamed around freely;
  • have Lola in the crate while Annie Mae roamed around freely;
  • put Annie Mae downstairs while Lola remained upstairs; or
  • keep Annie Mae on her leash while they both roamed around freely.

We tried and we tried to keep them both unleashed and free simultaneously, but it just didn't work out.  As loving as she is to me and other people, Annie Mae just would NOT make friends with Lola.  Oh well, maybe Lola's upcoming visit over the holidays will do the trick! (Hey, I can hope, can't I?!)

On Friday morning, after eating breakfast in the cabin, Mom and I decided to head into town.  Our first stop was Mercier Orchards.  When we first arrived, we both picked out a bag of apples to take home.  There were over a dozen different kinds of apples to choose from; but in the end Mom chose a bag of Yates apples, and I went with the Winsap variety.

If you like apples, then you would love this place!

They even had tastings so that you could try out all of the apple varieties.
It's amazing how different one apple can taste from another.
They're each so unique.


While apples are certainly Mercier Orchards specialty, they also make a wide variety of other products including:
  • apple butters;
  • fruit jams and jellies;
  • chutney's;
  • barbecue sauces;
  • hot sauces;
  • syrups;
  • apple cider;
  • honey;
  • candles; and
  • so much more that I can't even remember it all!

I thought that their honey display was really cute and clever!

For lunch, Mom and I ate in the Mercier Orchards cafe.  We split 1/2 of a pimento cheese sandwich and vegetable soup.  The sandwich was delicious, and having just 1/4 of a sandwich each was perfect because the pimento cheese was wonderfully rich.  

Honestly, I think we both could have drank a vat of just the broth.  
It was THAT delicious!

Mom saying "Yummmmm"!

Of course, we couldn't possibly have left without sampling an amazing homemade dessert...or two.  
Mom ended up settling on a mini apple fritter, and I chose a strawberry rhubarb pie.  
Thankfully, we were both generous enough to share portions of our delicacies!   

After sampling them both, I'm not sure which one I preferred.  
They were both wonderful, but also very different.  
The pie was sweeter, so perhaps better for a traditional dessert.  Whereas the fritter was sweet, but not so much so that it couldn't be eaten for breakfast with a decadently rich decaf coffee.  
Hmmm...that would be so good!

I found several gifts for Bo and I's family; and after a couple of hours, Mom and I decided that it was time to head home and check on Lola and Annie Mae.

Lola posing SO pretty for the camera.

Such a pretty, pretty girl.

We spent the rest of Friday afternoon/evening at home walking the dogs, cooking in, watching a Hallmark holiday movie, and heading to bed early.  
It was perfect.

On Saturday morning, after eating a hearty breakfast, Mom and I decided to take the dogs for a hike.  
There are so many wonderful trails within 5-10 miles of the cabin, that we just chose one of the closest ones and headed out.

The trail itself was absolutely gorgeous.

We got there early, before any other hikers were on the trail:
such precious moments in the company of God's creation.

If we had chosen to do the entire Benton Mackaye Trail, it would have been 10.4 miles round trip.  
Well, we weren't quite up for that; so we decided to walk about a mile and a half in, and then turned around and walked back out.  
We took our time, and in the end we hiked for about an hour and a half.  

Mother/Puppy Daughter love.

Sunlight through the trees.

I'm not sure what my mom was trying to capture here, but I actually like this "accidental" picture.
I think that I was trying to make Lola "sit", but it turns out that sometimes candid shots are better than posed ones.
Go figure.

Sunlight through the trees.
So bright.
So beautiful.

Hugging trees (i.e. tree huggers) ;)

Lola saying: Hurry up, Mommy!

On Saturday night - the last night of our getaway - Mom and I whipped up an absolutely salivatingly delicious meal.  It was amazing.  Here was the line-up:

"Until Next Time" dinner:
Mom's garden purple hull peas
Mom's garden turnip greens
Frances' hoe cakes (an old family recipe)
Sliced tomato w/ Ranch dressing

It just doesn't get any better than that, in my opinion.

Be patient with me over the next month and a half!  

I leave Wednesday for another long weekend trip (not returning until Sunday), but I will post when I get back.  Then Thanksgiving will be here (not 100% sure of our plans yet), and then the movers will be here to pack our house and start the official move to Whidbey!
Like I said, ch-ch-ch-changes are headed our way!

WHEW - I'm a little tired (but super excited) already!

Question of the Day:

Do you (or did you) ever take one-on-one trips with one of your parents?  If so, I would love to hear about some of your favorite memories from those trips in the "Comment" section directly below?!

Ally and Bo


  1. That looks like it was an amazing trip! I would love to go to that apple place (and sample some honey- yum!) You and your mom are both so beautiful!

    1. It WAS an amazing would love that place, Paige. Maybe one day we can take a friends trip up there. I think your Mom would love it as well. So pristine. So beautiful. So untouched.